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Dine for a cause

Dai
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Giancarlo Ferrara

Chef-owner Giancarlo Ferrara grates lemon zest onto pasta at Amalfi Ristorante Italiano & Bar. (Photo: The Epicurean Publicist)

Trying out a new restaurant is a crapshoot. You never know if the gamble will pay off. Will you walk away feeling full and happy, or irritated that you paid too much? A few of my friends have found a way around this. Once a year, my foodies make their rounds, trying out as many new eateries as possible during Houston Restaurant Weeks. In fact, an outgoing 35-year-old friend likes to meet his online dates at various HRW-participating restaurants. He reasoned, “I can check out the restaurant and my date, and if the food or the date doesn’t turn out to be something wonderful, I’ll still feel good because the HWR deals are pretty good, and my money went to a good cause.”

Proceeds from Houston Restaurant Weeks go to the Houston Food Bank. The event takes place Aug. 1-Sept. 7, when participating restaurants make donations based on how many brunches, lunches and dinners they sell. Diners can choose from two- to three-course lunches for $20 each, three- to four-course dinners for $35 or $45, or a three-course brunch for $25.

With more than 200 participating restaurants, Houstonians can “dine for a cause” every day for the full five weeks. Folks can revisit old HRW alumni, including Latin Bites, Caracol, Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar and Vallone’s. Or take this opportunity to check out new HRW additions. About 40 restaurants are participating for the first time. Here are some of the newbies: 

Amalfi – Talented Italian chef Giancarlo Ferrara serves the seafood dishes and fresh pastas that he grew up eating along the Amalfi Coast. 6100 Westheimer; 713-532-2201.

Añejo – The brainchild of the same folks who brought us upscale Southern comfort food at Max’s Wine Dive, here you’ll find dolled-up Tex-Mex. 1180-1 Uptown Park Boulevard; 713-963-9032.

Harwood Grill – Touting itself as a ranch-to-table restaurant, Harwood Grill chef Craig Bianco fries citrus-brined chicken and sears aged, richly marbled Akaushi beef. 2300 Westheimer, 713-360-7757.

Hearsay on the Green – Near the George R. Brown Convention Center, this younger sibling of Hearsay Gastro Lounge serves New American with a Southern twist. 1515 Dallas; 832-377-3362.

Sud Italia – Restaurant veteran Shanon Scott shares his passion for Southern Italian food at this rustically quaint West University establishment. 2347 University Boulevard, 713- 664-7571.

The Republic Smokehouse & Saloon – A barbecue joint, dance hall, sports bar (30 flat-screen TVs) and live music venue, this latest Midtown resident is best known for its gigantic, 1.5-pound, slow-smoked beef short ribs, aka the Brontosaurus. 1910 Bagby, 832-925-8871.

Paul’s Kitchen – This Upper Kirby eatery with Paul Lewis at the kitchen’s helm highlights a seasonal menu with global influences. 2502 Algerian Way; 713-360-2002.

  • Quattro

    One option at Quattro is the veal tenderloin with rare, seared tuna, tonnato sauce, puffed pantelleria capers and anchovy.

  • Republic Smokehouse and Saloon

    Tender, smoked barbecue is popular at the Republic Smokehouse and Saloon. (Photo: Alec Lasar)

  • Quattro
  • Republic Smokehouse and Saloon

Quattro

One option at Quattro is the veal tenderloin with rare, seared tuna, tonnato sauce, puffed pantelleria capers and anchovy.

Republic Smokehouse and Saloon

Tender, smoked barbecue is popular at the Republic Smokehouse and Saloon. (Photo: Alec Lasar)

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